According to a new review published in npj digital medicine, blockchain technology can play a key role in medical record management. This can help health care systems improve safety while reducing costs – and ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.
“To ensure that the health care system is not targeted by hackers, adequate precautions must be taken to protect patients’ sensitive data,” anuraag a. vazirani of Oxford University and his colleagues wrote“ Blockchain uses public key encryption technology to protect data security: one-way encryption function (hash) is used to generate a public key and a private key for each user. Both sides of the transaction can use these keys: the sender signs, the receiver uses his private key for verification, and the public key is used to send the transaction to the receiver. This allows the receiver to verify the validity of the chain of information. “
By using blockchain to manage health records, suppliers can not only obtain better security, but also obtain reliable methods to reduce unnecessary research. When the patient’s previous results are not available, the doctor usually arranges tests that could have been completely avoided. However, with the blockchain in place, the interoperability of the system will be very strong, and the “unavailable result” may become the past. Moreover, the authors add, “there is no additional cost to authorizing shared data.”
How is that done?
Vazirani and others pointed out that previous studies have shown how much impact blockchain can have on the health care system. With the continuous development of technology, it provides us with effective examples. For example, Medrec, a system developed by Boston researchers in 2016, uses cloud based medical records and blockchains to “record interactions between patients and suppliers through smart contracts.”. The authors explained that this “not only allows multiple health care providers of patients to access the data with consent, but also allows epidemiological researchers to access the data.”
However, blockchain can not solve all the security problems in the future. Even an advanced setting can be “51% attacked”, which involves the attacker completely rewriting the chain structure. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this.
“Using a ‘licensed’ (as opposed to unlicensed) blockchain… Allows the health care system to rule out this type of attack.”“ This method limits those computers and users who can run complete nodes, issue transactions, execute smart contracts and read transaction history. Therefore, this feature increases the integrity of the system, as well as the ability to prevent hackers, and strengthens the solid foundation of the system beyond its powerful public key encryption. “
Researchers say that the most effective way to manage medical records based on blockchain may be for external institutions to manage the medical records of the health system. This enables patients to be authorized “in a way that was previously impossible” and to keep patient data secure. There are other benefits for providers. For example, blockchain based medical record management makes it easy to use artificial intelligence to analyze statistical data, which can “provide important information for the system”, so as to comprehensively improve patient-centered care.
“Blockchain represents an innovative tool for managing medical records, ensuring interoperability without compromising security.”“ It also protects patient privacy, allowing patients to choose who can view their data. Investment in this technology will pay off because the system interface will lead to increased collaboration between patients and healthcare providers and improved healthcare outcomes. “
Responsible editor; zl